Written by Betty Dale Summers. One in a collection by Allen Bachoroski, Local Historical Writer and author of “Tales Along the Highway of Legends”
John, also called Jack by his friends and relatives, was born November 19, 1880 at Seoham Colliery, County Durham, England. He came to Las Animas County, Colorado as a young child with his parents, George and Susan Johnson Dale.
His early years were spent in Starkville and Sopris. George, his father, met a tragic death as a young man falling from a train going over the Sopris Trussel. I recall as a young child being asked to point out the place where my grandfather, who I never knew, died. The family spoke of it often probably because John, my dad, was no more than a boy working in the mines. He became the bread winner for his mother, brother and sisters.
John, had a younger half brother, Tom Parker, who spent most of his life in the Trinidad area. Jennie was born in a coal mining village in Northern France and came as a four-year-old child along with her parents Homer and Sylvia LePlat Durand to Starkville in 1889. Homer, however, was in Starkville for a short time before the rest of the family and Jennie remembered how homesick her mother was for France. They spent the first night crying in their adobe house.
My grandmother Sylvia LePlat Durand had two brothers who came to Las Animas County around the same time period. They were Herbert and Emil LePlat. Herbert had many LePlat descendants that lived in Las Animas County. Some of his daughters married names that come to mind’ Sproats, Winter, Gregory, Johnson and if I am not mistaken also Edwards.
John and Jennie were married on March 4, 1902 in Trinidad. Their marriage license states Majestic as home residence for both, To this union eight children were born.
John and Jennie never ventured far from Las Animas County for nearly fifty years but early in their marriage they would leave for a short period of time. But they always returned thinking job situations might be better. As a result, three of their children were born out of state. Their children were Sylvia, Fanny, Georgia, Jean, John Jr. and Betty.
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